“We have to flesh out all of the facts for the American people. The seriousness of the matter and the danger to our country demands nothing less,” Schiff wrote.
Atkinson alerted Schiff and other congressional committee leaders to the whistleblower’s complaint last month, but at the time, acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire would not allow Atkinson to share the full complaint with the committees.
The complaint, from an intelligence community employee, has since been released and alleges that Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Democratic officials in what the whistleblower called a solicitation of foreign interference in the 2020 elections. Biden is competing for the Democratic presidential nomination to run against Trump next year.
Atkinson had reviewed the complaint and found that it was credible and met the statutory definition of an “urgent concern,” which the law requires be shared with Congress.
But he was overruled by Maguire, who consulted with White House and Justice Department lawyers and determined that the complaint might be covered by executive privilege because it involved the president’s communications with a foreign leader.
Three committees, including Schiff’s, are investigating the Trump administration’s policy toward Ukraine and the role that his personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, played in trying to get the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden and his son.
Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy for Ukraine, told House investigators on Thursday that he warned Giuliani that he was receiving untrustworthy information about the Bidens from Ukrainian political figures, according to two people familiar with his testimony.